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Fantasy football insights with Watson for Week 10

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Ito Smith in the conversation as a flex play (1:36)

Field Yates and Mike Clay discuss why Ito Smith's numbers for the Falcons are a bit deceiving. (1:36)

Last season, IBM introduced IBM Insights, a tool that uses Watson AI to analyze thousands of fantasy articles, blogs, websites and podcasts and provide support data to assist with fantasy football decisions.

Watson outputs an estimated scoring range for each player, as well as projecting the chances that a player will exceed the upside estimate (e.g. "boom") or fall short of the low end estimate (e.g. "bust") on any given week.

For those who are looking for a tool to concentrate various web opinions into one location in order to help make roster moves, IBM offers Watson's Insights as an unsupervised, quantitative supplement to the more in-depth, personalized analysis that you would normally expect from an ESPN analyst.

The following article points out a few notable insights from Watson for Week 10 of the NFL season, as of early Friday afternoon.


Running backs decisions

Running backs are some of the most potentially powerful producers in fantasy football, but they often are the scarcest commodity because there are so few "No. 1" backs these days. As such, there is a clear hierarchy at the top with a handful of ultra-elite backs who are definite starts every week. However, it can be difficult to decide between backs of similar caliber, or -- especially during the part of the season with many teams on a bye -- it can sometimes be difficult to find startable value at all.

The following analysis was performed on the top-40 running backs expected to play this week (and who did not already play Thursday).

Projections higher than rank

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns vs. Atlanta Falcons

  • Weekly rank 66, 17th among eligible RBs

  • High projection: 22.9 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 9.2 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.23

  • Bust chance: 0.08

Chubb has averaged 19.3 rush attempts for 76.7 yards and has two touchdowns during the three games since he took over the starting running back job from the departed Carlos Hyde. On Sunday, he faces a Falcons defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in standard scoring leagues.

Watson's Insight: Chubb is the workhorse in the Browns backfield, and IBM Insights project him as a No. 1 running back option this week.

Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Weekly rank 152, 35th among eligible RBs

  • High projection: 18.7 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 6.0 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.08

  • Bust chance: 0.08

Richard is the change-of-pace back and receiving threat out of the Raiders backfield. IBM Insights projects Richard's numbers to be well ahead of backfield-mate Doug Martin's, likely because the Raiders are expected to be playing from behind against the Chargers. The Chargers have also allowed the third-most receiving yards to opposing running backs in the NFL this season.

Watson's Insight: Richard is the pass-catching back for a team that will likely be playing from behind against a defense that allows a lot of receiving yards out of the backfield, which spells fantasy startable upside.

Most likely to go boom/Least likely to bust

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints at Cincinnati Bengals

  • Weekly rank 54, 15th among eligible RBs

  • High projection: 18.7 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 6.0 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.25

  • Bust chance: 0.09

Ingram tends to be overshadowed by the heroics of backfield-mate Alvin Kamara, but he has averaged almost 15 touches per game for a bit more than 60 yards with two total touchdowns during the four games that he has played this season. This week, Ingram faces a Bengals defense that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in standard scoring leagues.

Watson's Insight: Ingram may be the secondary running back for the Saints, but IBM Insights projects him to produce fantasy startable output this week.

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons at Cleveland Browns

  • Weekly rank 157, 36th among eligible RBs

  • High projection: 18.2 fantasy points

  • Low projection: 3.5 fantasy points

  • Boom chance: 0.24

  • Bust chance: 0.08

Smith is in a similar situation to Ingram as the second running back on his team; Tevin Coleman is the main guy in the backfield for the Falcons. However, Smith has averaged almost 10 touches for almost 40 yards during his last five games, and more importantly has scored a touchdown in four of those five outings. The Browns, meanwhile, allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Watson's Insight: Smith has been taking advantage of his opportunities and has scored in four of the past five games, and IBM Insight pegs him as having starter upside this week.

Insights provided by IBM Watson in partnership with ESPN